The Measure of Things… (how to be accurate!)

There’s accurate and then there’s Rowden accurate…

You may think that twelve months is a good amount of time to learn the fine art of making high quality furniture. In fact, we are always impressed at how consistently our students achieve extremely high standards in furniture making by the time they leave.

There are, however, a number of stages the students have to work through before we feel they are ready to make their first design. The stage they absolutely have to understand and commit to is the need for accuracy in everything they do.

When it comes to measuring components, no ruler is accurate enough, and no eye good enough to be sure the component is as required. Only an engineer’s micrometer will give the student the information they need.  Only an engineer’s micrometer will be able to tell them that the wood they are working on is as it should be. The rules are that all dimensions must be within a quarter of a millimetre, and all joints must be within 0.1mm of absolute perfection. In fact, we’d rather not see that 0.1mm at all. Likewise, if two surfaces need to be at 90.0 degrees to each other, 90.1 degrees will have Daren raising an eyebrow, and 90.2 degrees will have Ed hyperventilating!

The projects that our students work through in the first half of the course are all about training them on the importance of precision. From book ends and cheeseboards to their bench and jewellery box, the focus is on teaching them to achieve a level of accuracy they may not have imagined possible. This ensures that, by the time they start making their own designs, the obsession is ingrained, and the commitment to perfection is an absolute.

Until next time…



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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